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3 ElDfl DM7E7 BT53 


Cultural Resources Managemc^nt 

A National Park Service 
Technical Bulletin 

Volume 5 No. 4 December 82 

Retracing Curatorial Developments 
in the National Park Service 

Ralph H. Lewis 


NOV 18 2010 

The establishing legislation for the 
National Park Service prescribes the 
preservation of natural and historic 
objects in the parks and their nonde- 
structive use for the enjoyment of 
present and future generations. In- 
herent in this charge is the full 
range of curatorial functions. It 
makes curators of the Director of 
the National Park Service and every 
park superintendent. In 1905, Custo- 
dian Frank "Boss" Pinkley, living in 
his lonely tent at Casa Grande, saw 
the necessity of collecting, preserv- 
ing and displaying the vulnerable, 
movable resources in his care. Also 
in 1905, the acting superintendent 
of Yosemite, referred to his park as 
a great museum of nature.'- A national 
park does constitute a special kind 
of museum. It protects and interprets 
the very resources which justify its 
existence. Without this commitment, 
the park would be the poorer, visually 
and emotionally. 

Even as a young agency, the Park Ser- 
vice found its boundries expanding be- 
yond its capabilities to manage them. 
Top administrators delegated a portion 
of their curatorial duties to the park 
naturalists who assumed authority 
over transportable and often fragile 
objects of scientific or historic im- 
portance. In the 1920's, the first 

Ned J. Burns, Chief of the 
Museum Branchy modeling a 
minature figure for a diarama. 
Burns headed the NFS museum 
program from 1936 to 19S3. 
Photo courtesy of the NPS 
History Collection , HFC. 

generation of naturalists discovered 
a need for special skills and know- 
ledge to care for the collections. 
Carl P. Russell, field naturalist and 
museum expert, initiated in-service 
training at the First Park Naturalists 
Training Conference in 1929. Recog- 
nizing his own need for more instruc- 
tion, he spent the next few years un- 
der the careful tutelage of Dr. Hermon 
Carey Bumpus_^ ai^ eminent museologist, 
^ce is deeply indebt- 

curatorial methods 
'guides to curatorial 
lividual training op- 
portunities evolved. 

Curatorial activities took an unex- 
pected twist when Director Stephen 
Mather, in conjunction with NPS park 
supervisors, urged naturalists to 
give priority to collecting cultural 
artifacts. Park geological or bio- 
logical resources could be gathered 
any time, they reasoned, but the 
cultural artifacts were unique and 
disappearing, and visitors found them 
vastly interesting. 2 Unfortunately, 
this emphasis led to the neglect of 
natural history collection. It also 
assumed the naturalists had more 
basis for making discriminating judg- 

continued page 6 

Measurable Progress in the Care of Collections 

Ann Hitchcock 

Noteworthy advances are occurring in 
the care of Park Service collections. 
The articles in this volume, devoted 
to curatorial and conservation pro- 
grams, testify that Servicewide, 
curators, conservators, and museum 
aides and technicians are actively 
addressing the needs of park collec- 
tions. In our call for papers for a 

curatorial issue of the CRM BULLETIN, 
the response was so great that its 
editors decided to devote two volumes 
rather than one to curatorial and 
conservation concerns. 

In 1980, with the establishment of 
the position of Chief Curator, the 
Park Service made a commitment to 

place greater emphasis on curatorial 
programs Servicewide. Since then, 
there has been a measurable increase 
in curatorial activity. The articles 
in this issue and the next illustrate 
recent progress in improving the 
quality of collections management and 

continued page 3 


North Atlantic Region Museum 
Technician Training Curriculum 

Edward L. Kallop, Jr. 

With the assistance of New England and 
New York. City conservators, a training 
curriculum has been conducted over the 
past two years by the North Atlantic 
Region's Museum Specialist (Metals 
Conservator), Edward McManus . The cur- 
riculum addresses object preservation 
needs for park museum technicians, 
curators, and trainees outside the 
Service . 

Phase I of the training began in 1981 
with identical courses presented first 
in Boston, then in New York. Eighteen 
trainees participated from eleven 
sites in the region. Phase 11 began 
the following year with eight train- 
ees, two from museums outside the 
Service. The coursework offered in- 
depth exposure to object conservation, 
both In theory and practice as under- 
stood by the profession. 

The program is deliberately termed a 
curriculum, since each course builds 
on preceding ones. With Phase I and 
Phase II established as part of the 
region's annual training effort. 
Phase III is being considered. With 
a third phase, the curriculum will be 
regarded probably as complete. 

Under Phase I, trainees met one full 
day each week for a total of ten 
weeks. Coursework consisted of re- 
quired reading assignments, laboratory 
exercises, occasional tests, technical 
films and slide lectures, visits to 
conservation laboratories specializing 
in particular materials, and class 
presentations of individual research 
papers. Trainees suggested their own 
research subjects, the only criteria 
being that they have relevance to 
course content and that techniques 
learned and equipment used in labora- 
tory exercises be incorporated in the 
product presented. Presentation of 

each paper was accompant 
ipant discussion, out of 
recommendations for spec 
later included in the fi 
Copies of completed rese 
were offered to interest 
people. So far, requests 
unmet, due to the technl 
of getting all the paper 
condition which hopefull 
resolved during the comi 

ed by partic- 
which came 
ific changes 
nal papers, 
arch papers 
ed Service 
have gone 
cal problem 
s copied, a 
y will be 
ng year. 

In all cases, trainees presented pa- 
pers directly related to the sites 
they represented. Diane Jonassen, at 
Sagamore Hill, examined the history 
of indoor climate control at Theodore 
Roosevelt's country home, with solid 
evidence to conclude that certain al- 
terations are required in existing 
mechanical systems to provide accept- 
able conditions for collection preser- 
vation. Michele West of Minute Man 
National Historical Park, and Diane 
Duszak of Manhattan Sites, both cura- 
tors, approached questions of preser- 
vation needs for artifacts used in 
exhibits. These are only some exam- 
ples of the subjects addressed. 

To build on the knowledge and experi- 
ence gained in Phase I, Phase II drew 
on all facets of object collections 
preservation, with the additional de- 
mand that trainees work together, ex- 
ercising judgments as a group. Cou- 
pled with this aspect of the course 
was an escalation of preservation ex- 
perience in specialized materials. 
This represented the second of two 
weeks of training and was accomplished 
under contract to the New England 
Museum Association. 

All Phase II applicants were careful- 
ly screened, with prior participation 
in Phase I or equivalent training an 
absolute requirement. The first week. 
Phase II trainees were assigned to 
make a full assessment of the North 
Atlantic Historic Preservation Cen- 
ter's growing but haphazardly stored 
architectural collection. They con- 
sulted with the Center's representa- 
tive to the course, and jointly rec- 
ommended a series of actions to bring 
the collection up to an acceptable 
standard for preservation. The bal- 
ance of the week was spent carrying 
out the tasks determined by partici- 
pants, with participants expected to 
make judgments at every step. Envi- 
ronmental conditions were fully 
noted; record photography provided a 
full documentation of the operation; 
an inventory system was perfected, 
and every object tagged with a correct 
inventory number; and shelves were 
cleared and cleaned, with all objects 
being newly stored in accordance with 
acceptable standards for preservation 
maintenance. Participants made spe- 

cific recommendations concerning the 
collection to be implemented by the 
Preservation Center. 

In their second week. Phase II train- 
ees became more highly specialized in 
their research. Two elected to spend 
a week at the Northeast Document Con- 
servation Center with Mary Todd Glaser 
and Sherelyn Ogden. Likewise, the rest 
of the interns scattered to various 
labs in the area. 

As a final assignment, each trainee 
provided a written appraisal of each 
half of the course, of the correla- 
tion between the two, and the degree 
of success each attached to Phase II 
as a successor to Phase I in the 

For the Region, the results are al- 
ready coming in. There is now a cadre 
of well-trained museum technicians 
approaching their jobs with a degree 
of self confidence and a measure of 
expertise they did not have two years 
ago. Among them is a new sense of 
professional community that is a di- 
rect outgrowth of shared experiences. 
Each to a degree is now a preservation 
specialist and fully capable of pro- 
viding assistance in his or her area 
of specialization. The complex "sur- 
gical" treatments of conservation are 
not theirs to perform, but those of 
preservation maintenance are, and they 
now can recognize the symptoms and 
are qualified to prescribe the cure. 

For the Park Service, the curriculum 
has engendered a new awareness among 
private sector conservators of our 
efforts on behalf of collections 
preservation. Not only has it gen- 
erated excellent public relations, 
it also has generated their interest 
in exploring wider uses for the cur- 
riculum. Everyone, conservators in- 
cluded, are coming to recognize that 
good preservation maintenance for 
object collections is the best pre- 
vention against costly and time con- 
suming conservation. Indeed, it is 
the most cost effective professional 
act that our park collections manage- 
ment personnel can perform. CRM 

The autlior is Regional Curator, North 
Atlantic Region. 

CRM Training 

Thomas G. Vaughan 

"Where can I get training for the per- 
son who takes care of the collec- 
tions?" This problem is stated fre- 
quently each year by supervisors and 
managers in the Service. If you are 
one of these, solutions are available, 
but you have to do some planning and 
searching. Here are some tips to 
guide you in your quest. 

The place to start, of course, is 
with the job and the incumbent. A 
comparison of what the person needs 
to know with what he or she does know 
at the appraisal interview will quick- 
ly show the areas in which training 
could be used. A check with the 
regional curator probably would con- 
firm the identified training needs 
and perhaps add others to the list. 

Once the training needs have been 
identified and agreed upon in an In- 
dividual Development Plan (IDP), the 
search for sources begins. Curatorial 
training opportunities are growing, 
both inside and outside the Service. 

The biggest news in NPS curatorial 
training is the expansion of Curator- 
ial Methods to two weeks. The expanded 
class is scheduled to be offered at 
the Mather Training Center for the 
first time from June 6 to June 17, 
1983. It is hoped that the class will 
be offered again in October. This 
expansion is a gratifying response 
to the pleas of "more time" from so 
many graduates of the one-week course. 

Another training resource is a slide- 
tape program on museum storage methods 
now in preparation. The program will 
illustrate the principles of good stor- 
age, and discuss equipment and tech- 
niques specific to various types of 
objects. Carl Degen is the contractor. 

Of sideline interest to curators, a 
number of other courses have been 
showing greater curatorial content 
recently. Curatorial concerns have 
been presented in the Cultural 
Resource Management for Managers 
course and the Historic Preservation 
Maintenance for Managers course. Cul- 
tural Resources Management generally 
has received increased attention in 
Orientation courses and in the Ranger 
Skills course, as well. 

In addition, curatorial training is 
sometimes available within the re- 
gions. The North Atlantic Region's 
Technician Training Program (see 
Edward Kallop's article in this issue) 
is currently the most developed of the 
regional offerings. 

The Natural Science Division, WASO, 
Everglades National Park, and the 
Southeast Regional Office will work 
together to provide a short practical 
course on the care of Natural History 
Collections in mid-March, 1983. The 
Everglades Natural History Collection 
will be the subject matter of the 
course, aimed to provide the trainees 
with both training and practical ex- 
perience in the registration and care 
of biological specimens. 

Beyond listed Park Service offerings, 
local museums and historical socie- 
ties should be canvassed. Often, a 
relevant seminar or workshop can be 
provided by these institutions if 
enough need is expressed. Participa- 
tion in local efforts of this type 
has the added benefit of strengthen- 
ing the park's ties with the local 
community and state. 

Sometimes local, regional, or Service- 
wide training cannot meet the need, 
and longer or more specialized courses 
must be found. A good place to start 
looking is: Museum Studies Programs 
in the United States and Abroad 
(1982). This publication is available 
from the Curatorial Services Division, 
WASO. It is the most complete and 
current guide available. It lists 
correspondence courses (Alaska State 
Museum, University of Idaho, AASLH*), 
degree programs, internships, workshop 
centers (for example, Campbell Center 
for Historic Preservation Studies, 
Mt . Carroll, IL), seminars sponsored 
by professional associations (AASLH*, 
AAMt) and other training opportuni- 
ties. In most cases, you will have 
to do follow-up writing or calling to 
get a listing of current offerings, 
but it provides a good starting point. 

A frequently ignored means of train- 
ing is an on-the-job-training assign- 
ment, often the best method for teach- 
ing certain curatorial skills. If a 
park technician has to organize a 
storage area, or develop and implement 
a housekeeping program for a furnished 
historic structure, that person could 
be prepared for the task by assisting 
a qualified curator in a nearby park 
or museum one or two days weekly for 
a specified period of time. If this 
seems a good solution to a training 
problem in your park, ask the regional 
curator to review the proposed ar- 
rangement to make sure the information 
received fits Service standards. 

The preceding tips probably will not 
solve all of your curatorial training 

problems In one fiscal year, but they 
should help you to orchestrate needs, 
time, resources, and solutions to 
gradually build a better curatorial 
program. CRM 

*AASLH — American Association for 
State and Local History. 

tAAM — American Association of 
Museums . 

The author is Staff Curator, Curator- 
ial Services Division, Washington 


preservation at the park level. The 
curatorial staff at Hot Springs takes 
great pride in observing the stabili- 
zation of relative humidity readings 
after the installation of a new HVAC 
(heating-ventilating-air -conditioning) 
system. At Golden Gate National 
Recreation Area, the staff has the 
pleasure, that can be fully appreci- 
ated by other collections managers, 
of quickly retrieving objects using 
an up-to-date catalog record system 
and recently reorganized storage. At 
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 
the curatorial staff has gained con- 
fidence in its decisions regarding 
conservation treatment by systemati- 
cally conducting a condition survey 
and reviewing the significance of the 
objects in the collection. Few can 
imagine the joy and excitement of the 
Harpers Ferry furniture conservator 
on discovering historic signatures 
while working on a table from Gettys- 
burg. A regional curator shares the 
details of a highly successful train- 
ing program for curators. 

Servicewide progress is measurable 
also in more abstract terms, such as 
dollars spent and reports produced. 
Over the last three years, there has 
been a marked increase in funding for 
collections. Amounts devoted to 
collections from the Cultural Resource 
Preservation Fund, including the Park 
Restoration and Improvement Program 
(PRIP), has grown from zero in FY 80 
to nearly one million in FY 84. 
Likewise, regional cyclic maintenance 
programs now commonly include collec- 
tions projects, whereas this support 
was rare three years ago. The Basic 
Operations Preliminary Assessment 
(March 30, 1982) provided, for the 
first time, information on base 
dollars being spent in curatorial 
programs. The figure given, $6.4 
million, covered all related costs, 
including personnel. Although the sum 
is substantial, given the magnitude of 
the resource to be managed (10 million 
objects), it amounts to only $0.64 per 
object. If the field is placing in- 
creased emphasis on the management of 
objects, the figure should rise in 
future Basic Operations reports. In 
terms of personnel, the total number 
continued page 4 


jf parks with curatorial staff has 
remained at approximately 40 for the 
last three years, indicating that new 
Casks are most likely being handled 
5y contract and by assignment to non- 
:uratorial staff. 

rhe existence of planning documents 
is another way of measuring progress 
md the sensitivity of park staff to 
collections. The Washington Office 
las on file 122 Scope of Collection 
statements. If this list is complete, 
approximately two-thirds of the parks 
in the system lack this most basic 
slanning document for park collec- 
tions. In FY 83, the Curatorial 
services Division will be updating 

the list and encouraging parks to 
complete these documents. Another 
planning document on the increase is 
the Collection Preservation Guide 
(CPG). Over the past three years, an 
average of five guides was produced 
annually. By contrast, the antici- 
pated production for FY 83 is 19, 
which will bring the total to 60. 

Another area of considerable concern 
is accountability, especially in 
regard to cataloging objects. Since 
1980, new records have been entered 
in the National Catalog at a fairly 
steady rate of approximately 27,000 
per year. Yet, there remains a back- 
log of over nine million uncataloged 
objects. We anticipate the rate of 

cataloging will rise dramatically, 
beginning in FY 8A , with the intro- 
duction of new streamlined catalog- 
ing procedures that are being devised 
by the National Catalog Steering 
Committee (see CRM Bulletin, Vol. 5, 
Nos. 1-3). 

In summary, measurable increases in 
Servicewide endeavors pertaining to 
collections management and preservation 
have taken place over the past three 
years. And while much work remains 
to be done, especially in cataloging 
and storage improvement, the progress 
in the early 1980's bodes well for 
future accomplishments . CRM 
The author is the Chief Curator of the 
National Park Service. 

Priping in St. Louis 

Steven Harrison 

The Park Rehabilitation and Improve- 
ment Project (PRIP) has improved sig- 
nificantly curation of the museum 
collection at Jefferson National Ex- 
pansion Memorial National Historic 
Site. It made funds available for FY 
32 which allowed the park to under- 
take several projects otherwise impos- 
sible to implement with normal opera- 
ting funds. 

rhe project was a cooperative one be- 
tween Harpers Ferry Center and the 
curatorial staff in St. Louis. Diana 
Pardue , staff curator with the Museum 
Services Division (HFC), now with the 
Iluratorial Services Division, WASO , 
lad primary responsibility for the 
project. She was familiar with the 
sark's museum, having prepared its 
Collection Preservation Guide in 
1980. The Guide provided an import- 
ant basis for planning the PRIP pro- 
ject. It allowed the park staff to 
enow what supplies and services were 
leeded so that park funds could be 
Dudgeted to alleviate those identi- 
fied problems. 

rhe $35,000 fund was managed by the 
"luseum Services Division, Harpers 
■"erry Center, with requisitions com- 
ing from the park or from the Harpers 
='erry curatorial staff through the 
aark. Purchase orders were then is- 
sued by the procurement office at 
larpers Ferry Center. The only ex- 
ception to this was some $3,500 
:ransferred to the Midwest Region for 
iirect control by the park. 

V breakdown of the original budget 
follows : museum storage (supplies 
and equipment), $7,000; conservation 
[surveys of paintings, ethnographic 
objects, paper, wood and bronze sculp- 
;ure), $9,000; museum accountability 
[photographing objects, library and 
archival survey, accession records 

Curator Steve Harrison with 
new rolled textile storage. 

survey, library cataloging), $1,400; 
packing and snipping, and returning 
loans, $2,500; environmental protec- 
tion (primarily humidity and light), 
$8,600; museum security (for museum 
storage, archives, and library), 
$3,000. Although these figures were 
tentative and some of the categories 
blurred at times, the final expendi- 
tures were close to that planned. 

A wide spectrum of work was done with 
rather even coverage of the entire 
collection. For example, improvements 
in environmental protection and secur- 
ity benefited most of the collection. 
When photographing museum objects, 
emphasis was placed on taking photo- 
graphs of the high-valued accountable 
objects for park records. There are 
hundreds of other objects that warrant 
being photographed, but the park staff 
was forced to set some priorities and 
establish some limits on each category. 

An important part of the project was 
conservation. Initially, the staff 
thought about having conservation 
work performed. The park staff knew 
there were objects that needed treat- 
ment, but it was not sure that these 
same objects warranted treatment when 
looking at the collection as a whole. 
It became apparent that the park did 
not have the basic information upon 
which to base conservation priorities. 
Because conservation is expensive and 

a conservator's time is precious, the 
staff felt a responsibility to make 
every penny and every minute count . 
The result was a thoughtful and de- 
liberate process. It was decided to 
have conservation surveys made of 
specific segments of the museum col- 
lection. These segments corresponded 
with the specialties of the conserva- 
tors in the Divison of Conservation 
Labs, Harpers Ferry Center, who 
conducted most of the surveys. The 
exception to use of the HFC conser- 
vation staff was a contract to the 
Center for Archaeometry for surveying 
bronze sculpture in the collection. 
It was also decided to contract the 
survey of ethnographic objects be- 
cause of the volume of material in 
that part of the park's collection. 
The conservation surveys were the 
first of a three-step process, and 
the only step that the park staff 
felt could be contracted. The second 
step involved the park curatorial 
staff surveying the collection to as- 
sess the appropriateness and histori- 
cal value of each object. This sepa- 
ration of surveys allowed maximum ob- 
jectivity. The third step will com- 
bine these surveys into a list of ob- 
jects in the order in which they need 
and warrant available conservation 
funds . 

The PRIP project was not an end for 
the park staff, but a beginning. Its 
benefits extended beyond the immediate 
acquisition of new cabinets or addi- 
tional security devices. It has 
forced the staff to look closely at 
its collection and how that collection 
has been managed. It has raised im- 
portant questions which otherwise 
might not have been asked. It has put 
the park staff in touch with a variety 
of people, both inside and outside the 
National Park Service, and that has 
stimulated fresh approaches to manag- 
ing the cultual resources in the 
park's care. CRM 

The author Is the Muse'im Specialist 
at Jefferson National Expanison 
Memorial National Historic Site. 

One Giant Step for Hot Springs 

Ellen R. Lasley 

In the early spring of 1982, Hot 
Springs National Park was faced with 
a curatorial collection of several 
thousand objects housed in a surplus 
park building with no heat, air con- 
ditioning, or humidity controls. Only 
about 700 artifacts had been cata- 
loged. Some artifacts were stacked 
in boxes on the floor. Others were 
kept in the non-operational bath- 
houses where they were susceptible to 
damage, vandalism, and theft. Work 
with this collection generally con- 
sisted of sorting through the mess 
and grouping boxes into accessions. 
The park's records were less than 
satisfactory — the accession book was 
jp to date, but only the briefest 
Information had been entered. Few 
irtifacts were marked with their ac- 
;ession number, and in several cases, 
he Park Service could show no proof 
if ownership. 

ware of this situation, the Curator- 
al Services Division, Washington, 
esignated $18,500 from the Park 
estoration and Improvement Program 
PRIP) for curatorial assistance at 
ot Springs. Gordon Gay, Registrar 
(E the National Catalog (Harpers 
I arry Center) reviewed with the park 
i£;aff those remedial actions it had 
already identified. It was agreed 
|t lat : 1) the house storing the col- 

ction (formerly the superintendent's 
rsidence) was adequate for such pur- 
ses and that the park's Collection 
eservation Guide (1980) designating 
e building for curatorial purposes 
|fl ould be implemented; 2) additional 
It i o rage cabinets and oversized shelv- 
ig were needed to store the artifacts 
csquately; and 3) an adequate envi- 
c imental control system for the cu- 
c :orial building was mandatory, but 

E! costs would have to be kept below 
ledlately after this review, steel 
I ;le Iron and a skid of plywood for 
1 Iving were ordered. Three standard 
)i cimen cabinets, one large herbar- 
.1 cabinet, four 5-drawer map cases, 
< acid free tissue and map folders 
lie also ordered. At the park level, 
Ie is were made to purchase an envi- 
ijr. nental system to control tempera- 
"Mr; and humidity for the main floor 
(| :-he house rather than the entire 
t|l .ding (two full floors, a basement, 
jut eld an attic in all). Estimates for 
etysgs heat/electric cool, 5-ton, 140 
*Eb system were around $5,200, well 
up r the imposed limit. Funds for 
ij' t|L purpose, totaling $6,500 were 
tai sferred to the park, and instal- 
ll: on began in June of 1982. 

Ijbid been decided before his arriv- 
i t lat Gordon Gay should spend ap- 

proximately two to three weeks at Hot 
Springs to concentrate on the park's 
storage problems. Before his arrival 
in mid-May, the specimen cabinets and 
map cases had been received and placed 
within the house. Of the three major 
rooms on the main floor, one was des- 
ignated for archival items, one for 
specimen cabinets, and one for steel 
shelving and large artifacts. It was 
later decided to place less fragile 
objects on shelving on the second 
floor because of space restrictions 
on the main floor. 

Gordon Gay spent the first days of his 
visit checking the bathhouses and 
other park structures housing poten- 
tial collectible items to be included 
in the museum collection. He found 
bathhouse artifacts and records, a 
large number of Park Service memora- 
bilia cached in the maintenance area, 
and park administrative files that 
dated from the turn of the century. 

During the next two and one-half 
weeks, a concerted effort was made 
to clean the storage facility (four 
truckloads of trash were removed); 
assemble the steel and plywood shelv- 
ing and place the objects on them; 
and assemble other artifacts in one 
general area. 

Crated stain glass from the Maurice 
Bathhouse, large geological speci- 
mens, and ceramic bathtubs were 
stored in appropriate locations. 
Within two weeks, all artifacts had 
been placed in cabinets or on shelv- 
ing, and several artifacts had been 
prepared for shipment to the conser- 
vation laboratories in Harpers Ferry 
for preservation treatment. 

After Gordon Gay's departure, work 
continued on the collections, al- 
though at a greatly reduced rate 
because of the demands on park staff 
time during the summer season. The 
remaining funds in the park's account 
were spent on basic curatorial sup- 
plies, which included a canister va- 
cuum cleaner, natural specimen jars, 
herbarium supplies, formaldehyde/alco- 
hol solutions, and cleaning supplies. 
In addition, it was decided that 
shelves and artifacts in the storage 
area should be professionally cleaned 
to facilitate the best use of time 
and money. After the proposed job 
had been discussed with two cleaning 
contractors, cleaning specifications 
were drawn up so that all work would 
be closely supervised and meet NPS 
curatorial requirements. In addition, 
all cleaning supplies were to be pro- 
vided by the park to insure the use 
of approved cleaning agents. 

The current status of the collection 
is a definite improvement over the 
situation before PRIP funds were 
received, and a concerted effort 
is being made to maintain the momen- 
tum. Approximately 200 historic maps 
and blueprints have been returned to 
the park after preservation treatment 
and mylar encapsulation by the Texas 
Conservation Center. These documents 
have been organized and protected in 
the map cases. The remaining untreated 
documents will be unrolled, flattened, 
and placed in acid free folders until 
funding is available to complete pre- 
servation. Cataloging of the collec- 
tion has begun, and the park is ac- 
tively seeking Interns from local uni- 
versities to assist in this project. 

The one remaining area of concern 
needing attention and one that re- 
lates directly to the park's Scope of 
Collection is the enormous volume of 
archival material remaining to be 
organized. The park is awaiting new 
instructions currently being devel- 
oped by the National Catalog Steering 
Committee regarding the organization 
and cataloging of such large archival 
collections. (See CRM BULLETIN, No. 
5, Vols. 1-3, September 1982, for an 
article describing the Committee and 
its mission.) Until such guidance is 
provided, the park's papers will be 
organized and made available to re- 
searchers in accordance with standard 
archival procedures. 

Currently, a hygrotherraograph moni- 
tors the curatorial storage area and 
the Fordyce Bathhouse where some ar- 
tifacts are displaced during the 
summer season. The heating, ventila- 
tion, and air conditioning system is 
operational. Work with the curatorial 
collection is continuing, although 
other job requirements prevent full 
attention to such concerns by the 
staff member assigned curatorial re- 
sponsibilities for the park. A mini- 
mum of 20 percent of this employee's 
time is now designated for curatorial 
work, but an effort is being made to 
increase this percentage. As time 
permits, a second staff member is be- 
ing trained in curatorial procedures. 
Perhaps even more importantly, the 
entire park staff realizes the value 
of the collection for which it is re- 
sponsible, and better appreciates 
the time, money, and expertise needed 
to fulfill those responsibilities. 


The author is a Park Ranger (inter- 
pretation) at Hot Springs National 

Did you ever wish that a piece of an- 
tique furniture could tell you about 
its past? Sometimes it can, if you 
listen or look closely enough. General 
George G. Meade's table has a story 
to tell that was almost lost. 

\t the Gettysburg National Military 
°ark Visitor Center, there is on 
exhibit a cherry wood, three-drawer 
tavern table, reportedly used by 
General George G. Meade during the 
Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863. 
Mrs. Lydia Leister, whose home Meade 
occupied during the battle, made the 
claim 14 years later, July 25, 1877, 
when she sold the table to Edmund J. 
Cleveland of Elizabeth, New Jersey. 
She claimed her husband made the 
table 42 years earlier, dating it 
to 1835. Later, Edmund J. Cleveland's 
son, the Rev. E. J. Cleveland, pre- 
sented the table to the Memorial and 
Library Association of Westerly, 
Rhode Island. In May, 1978, the 
National Park Service bought it and 
sent it to the Service's Branch of 
Conservation Laboratories for preser- 
vation treatment. 

The table required extensive work. 
Three boards forming the table top 
were seamed by numerous splits, some 
very large. Several of the mortise 
and tenon joints in the base were 
loose. Wood beetles had irreparably 
damaged some of the secondary pine 
rfood. Because of the deterioration, 
it was necessary to separate table 
:op and base, which was done by re- 
noving wooden screws dating before 
L840. When the base came off, what 
appeared to be penciled handwriting 


could be seen on the underside of the 
top. Barely visible with the naked 
eye, the writing became no more 
legible under ultraviolet light. The 
use of an infrared scope, however, 
distinguished a list of four soldiers' 
names: J.W. Ziegler, Peter Warren, 
John Sheads , and C.E. Armor. The 
notation, "Co. F 87 Pv vol." followed 
each man's name, with Armor's name 
written a second time on the under- 
side of the top rear board. The 
writing seemed to have been done by 
one person, probably Armor, since his 
name appeared last on the list and 
was written twice. 

Mike Wiltshire, an NPS staff photo- 
grapher, took infrared photographs 
of the signatures. Then conservators 

attached double-faced tape to the 
area around the writing. A piece of 
mylar affixed to the tape covered the 
names to protect the lead pencil 
writing from future damage. 

Establishing the identity of the foui 
men prompted an investigation of mam 
script service records at the Nation; 
Archives. Pertinent sources includec 
company muster rolls, declarations f< 
pensions, and general affidavits on 
each of the men. 

According to muster rolls, all four 
men enlisted in Company F, 87th 
Pennsylvania Infantry, on September 
2, 1861, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 
Charles Armor's signature appears on 
a declaration for an invalid pension 


ments regarding acquisitions. Out of 
this situation, Carl Russell developed 
himself into a leading student of fur 
trade material culture. He became a 
strong advocate for using objects in 
historical research, though historians 
generally turned a deaf ear. Ronald 
F. Lee, then NPS Chief Historian, how- 
ever, did support the curatorial needs 
of park collections. 

historical resources became a criti- 
cal concern in the 1930's. The Service 
found itself responsible for a long 
list of historic sites, without the 
professionals to study and interpret 
them. Few qualified curators of 
historical collections existed any- 
where in the country. To identify 
and catalog artifacts, the parks re- 
lied on personal antique collectors. 
Care of historical collections rest- 
id on equally shaky ground, since the 
scientific study of specimen conserva- 
tion had barely begun. Archeological 
collections in park custody fared 
somewhat better, however. By training, 
archeologists considered artifacts as 
vital resources requiring study and 
care. Nevertheless, the sheer volume 

of excavated material undermined their 
efforts to provide full curatorial 
services . 

Establishment of a central Museum Di- 
vision in 1935 focused these problems. 
The division, largely funded under 
various emergency relief programs, 
concentrated on planning and preparing 
exhibits for new park museums. Never- 
theless, it shouldered as much respon- 
sibility for collection care as it 
could. In the East, it collaborated 
with parks having urgent curatorial 
needs. It supported antiquarian-cura- 
tors at Morristown National Historical 
Park, Fort McHenry, and Colonial, and 
lent a novice curator to George 
Washington Birthplace. It diverted 
exhibit preparators to clean or treat 
historic objects. A surplus of re- 
lief workers enabled the western la- 
boratories to provide curatorial 
equipment, supplies, and a few ser- 
vices to parks at no cost except for 
shipping. One of the best examples of 
good specimen care and study in the 
1930 's developed at Colonial where the 
interest of park management and sup- 
port from the Museum Division backed 
up the pioneering work of Jean (Pinky) 

Harrington in the new field of his- 
toric archeology. 

In 1940, Morristown established a per 
manent Civil Service position for a 
park museum curator. The same year, 
NPS acquisition of the Vanderbilt 
Mansion (with all its furnishings) 
gave visible prominence to the cura- 
torial task. The Vanderbilt situation 
reinforced Ned Burns' belief that as 
chief of the Museum Division, he had 
the knowledge and experience to appre 
ciate the problems without the abilit 
to do more than offer advice under 
wartime constraints. In a more posi- 
tive vein, the chief historian ob- 
tained the temporary services of a 
valuable collaborator. Dr. Hans Huth, 
a German refugee and curator of the 
Potsdam Palace. His expert knowledge 
of cultural objects emphasized the 
level of curatorial scholarship 
toward which the Service should 
aspire . 

When a museum laboratory could be re- 
opened late in 1946, Ned Burns took 
action on the Vanderbiilt Mansion 
situation. As the best practical 
solution available, he decided to 

The Mystery of 

General Meade's 


Ronald Sheetz 

for himself. He also signed claims 
for each of the other men listed on 
the table. Armor's signature on a 
claim for Peter Warren is virtually 
identical to Armor's signature on the 

To establish the authenticity of the 
signature, infrared photos and copies 
of affidavits from the National 
Archives were sent to the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation. Their exam- 
ination showed that the writing for 
each of the signatures under the 
table top belonged to Charles E. 
Armor . 

Research placed the 87th Pennsylvania 
Infantry under the Army of the Potomac 
commanded by Meade at Gettysburg. How- 

Cfo ^' t"/ (^'irii^ 

List of four soldiers' names seen on infrared film. 

ever, research also tells us that 
Armor's regiment did not participate 
in the battle and, in fact, was 
stationed outside Harpers Ferry at 
the time. The ownership record 
plus these bits and pieces of infor- 
mation add credibility to the his- 
toric associations of the Leister 
table at the same time that they 
create other questions. Did Armor 

write the list under the table, and 
if he did, when did he do it and why? 
Who knows? Maybe he and his buddies 
wanted to be recorded in history. If 
so, they have succeeded! CRM 

The author is a Museum Specialist 
(Furniture Conservator) in the Divi- 
sion of Conservation, Harpers Ferry 

provide continuous onsite care for 
the furnishings. He selected a ver- 
satile and reliable preparator from 
the laboratory's small staff. Although 
not trained specifically as either a 
curator or a conservator, Albert 
McClure performed yeoman service in 
both capacities for many years. 

A few months later, the laboratory 
found a young curator who combined 
the qualifications it had long sought. 
Harold L. Peterson held a graduate 
degree in American history from a 
leading university and was also a rec- 
ognized expert in material culture 
research. The chief historian soon 
commandeered Peterson's services. 
Peterson did not return to fulltime 
work, as a curator until his final 
assignment; but throughout his career, 
he raised the curatorial awareness of 
his colleagues and the credibility 
of the Service as a trustworthy 
custodian of historic objects. 

During the 1950 's, the Museum Branch 
(postwar successor to the Museum Di- 
vision) made slow but significant pro- 
gress in curatorial matters by: 1) es- 
tablishing a small staff of scientifi- 

cally trained conservators, a new and 
much needed breed of museum worker; 
2) standardizing collection storage 
equipment for Servicewide use and 
facilitating its procurement; 3) set- 
ting up a museum record system to be 
used in all the parks; 4) directing a 
three-year crash program to upgrade 
these records; and 5) employing re- 
gional curators who demonstrated 
their value so well that these posi- 
tions have continued to grow in 
importance. The Museum Branch large- 
ly failed, however, in its efforts to 
have adequate study collection rooms 
included in the many new visitor cen- 
ters under construction. These ac- 
tivities continued into the 1960's. 
A reorganization in 1965 largely sep- 
arated curatorial responsibilities 
from exhibit development. This per 
mitted the new Branch of Museum 
Operations to concentrate most of its 
attention on collection care. 

The 1970 's saw Museum Operations grow 
into a Division of Museum Services. 
Under Art Allen's vigorous leadership, 
it expanded the conservation staff 
and provided the conservators for the 
first time with well-equipped labora- 

tories. It strengthened and extended 
curatorial services to the field, set 
up the National Catalog, effectively 
stimulated growth of curatorial posi- 
tions in the parks, and helped to fill 
many of them with trained curators. 

Today, centralized curatorial services 
are managed out of the Washington of- 
fice. Under the direction of Chief 
Curator Ann Hitchcock, a museum advo- 
cate's presence has been reestablished 
on the Director's staff, a presence 
which hopefully will maintain a con- 
tinuing awareness in Washington of the 
pressing and specialized curatorial 
needs of the National Park Service. 

^ • Department of Interior Annual Re- 
port for Fiscal Year ending June 
30, 1904. In Miscellaneous Reports, 
Part 1, Government Printing 
Office, 1904, 387. 

2* Proceedings of First Park Natural- 
ists' Training Conference, Educa- 
tion Headquarters, Berkeley, CA. 
November 1-30, 1929, 46-92. CRM 

The author is the former Chief of the 
Division of Museum Operations, Harpers 
Ferry Center, 

News Notes 

Halon 1301 Experiment 

Gloria J. Fanner in the Curator (June 
1982, vol. 25, no. 2) discusses NPS 
Western Archeological and Conservation 
Center experiences with the Halon 1301 
fire suppressant system. The article 
details the Tucson office's experiment 
to determine the effects of escaping 
halon gas on irreplaceable Indian bas- 
kets stored on open shelving. Numbered 
boxes of various sizes (in lieu of the 
artifacts themselves) were placed on 
shelves and their positions recorded 
before and after the test gas release. 
Several boxes were blown off the 
shelves or moved by the gas release. 
As a result, care is now taken to po- 
sition artifacts at a safe distance 
from the gas source. 

AASLH Announces New Program Tapes 

The American Association for State 
and Local History (AASLH) has an- 
nounced several additions to its 
popular series of tape/slide programs. 
One of these new programs, "Fire 
Security in the Historic House," rec- 
ommends fire detection and suppression 
systems, and stresses the importance 
of staff training. A number of the 
program slides feature systems and 
situations in furnished historic house 
museums in the national parks. Another 
new program, "The Victorian House: 
Identification and Conservation," 
highlights architectural styles, use- 
ful resource materials, and potential 
solutions for common problems in 
Victorian house conservation. 

The programs sell for $34.50 each, or 
may be rented for $12.50 per week. 
Information on the 21 programs now 
available should be addressed to 
Patricia A. Hall, Assistant Director, 
Education Division, American Associa- 
tion for State and Local History, 

708 Berry Road, Nashville, Tennessee 
37204. The telephone number is (615) 

AASLH also has 24 programs in its 
Museum Series. These cover such sub- 
jects as object registration, matting 
and framing prints, exhibit techniques, 
reproducing historic costumes, publi- 
cations design, and slide show produc- 
tion. The programs sell for $75.00, 
and rent for $12.50 per week. 

Brochures describing all programs in 
both series are available from AASLH. 

Inventory At Ellis Island 

This past summer, five graduate stu- 
dents from the New York University 
Museum Studies program inventoried 
the furnishings and artifacts of the 
principal structures on Ellis Island. 
Funding for the project came from the 
regional Cultural Cyclic Mainte- 
nance funds. In accordance with the 
contract awarded to New York Univer- 
sity, the project team located, 
tagged, identified, and accounted for 
all movable artifacts on Ellis Is- 
land. In addition, they identified 
objects of possible historical signi- 
ficance like: tableware from the turn- 
of-the-century immigration period, 
early dental equipment, clothing, 
trucks, and government documents. 
The final inventory report has been 
submitted to the park superintendent 
and to the North Atlantic Regional 

Natural History 
Curatorial Activities 

The Park Service has two current 
projects which specifically address 
natural history curation. The first 
is a Southeast Region trainning 
course scheduled for March 14-19, 
1983, at Everglades National Park. 
Curators throughout the region will 

learn methods of collections curat: 
as well as how to salvage some of t 
region's rapidly deteriorating nati 
history collections. 

The second project is the develop- 
ment of new specimen labels for bi( 
logical, geological, and paleonto- 
logical collections by the Natural 
Sciences Division, WASO. The labe 
will insure that necessary data is 
consistently recorded for each spei 
men in the collection. They are 
available from the Curatorial Serv- 
ices Division, WASO. 

Nitrate Negatives 

Several major projects to copy niti 
negatives onto safety film have bei 
taking place in widely separated Nl 
areas. Frederick Law Olmsted NHS, 
Western Archeological and Conserval 
Center, Yosemite NP, Golden Gate Nl 
Grand Canyon NP , Crater Lake NP , M< 
Rainier NP , George Washington Birti 
place NM, Colonial NHP , Petersburg 
and Fredericksburg and Spotsylvani; 
NMP are among those converting phol 
graphic holdings from highly flam- 
mable nitrate-based film to more 
stable acetate films. The nitrate- 
based negatives have been found in 
park museum collections, libraries 
maintenance files, administrative 
files, and practically any other 
imaginable place. Project reports 
procedural manuals, and other docu- 
ments produced in the course of th( 
preservation projects are requestet 
to be sent to Thomas G. Vaughan, 
(Staff Curator, Curatorial Service; 
Division, Harpers Ferry Center, Na- 
tional Park Service, Harpers Ferry 
West Virginia 25425), to aid in de- 
veloping a Servicewide strategy foi 
dealing with this serious preserva- 
tion problem. Please also notify 1 
of any nitrate conversion projects 
beyond those listed. 


December 1982 

Published quarterly by ihc Associate Director, 
Cultural Resources, in the interest u( promoting; 
and maintaining high standards in the management 
of those cultural resources entrusted to the National 
Park Service's tare by the American people. 

I.ditor Douglas L. Caldwell 
Assistant Lditor: Mary V. Maruca 
Cultural Resources, Washington, D.C. 

Vol. 5, No. 4 

(released Feb. 1983) 


Progress in Care of Collections 1 
Retracing Developments 1 

NARO Museum Technician 
Training 2 

CRM Training Opportunities 

Priping in St. Louis 

Giant Step for Hot Springs 

Mystery Table 

News Notes 

Cultural Resources 

National Park Service 

U.S. Department ot the Inlerio! 

Washington, DC 20240 

P.'slagc and lees Paid 

U.S. Dcpaiiment of the Inlerioi 


GPO got -708